Store could lose licence after selling counterfeit wine

19/7/12- Ideal Mini-Market, Queens Road, Hastings
19/7/12- Ideal Mini-Market, Queens Road, Hastings

A GROCERY store could lose its licence to sell alcohol after trading standards officers discovered hundreds of bottles of counterfeit wine some with floating bits inside.

A licensing sub-committee will meet on August 1 to decide the fate of Ideal Mini Market in Queen’s Road.

Members will hear how East Sussex Trading Standards carried out an investigation into the premises.

A report to the committee prepared by licensing manager Bob Brown states an inspection was carried out on January 12 this year as part of Operation Mistletoe.

Officers seized 30 bottles of Blossom Hill wine and two bottles of Jacobs Creek. The brand holders confirmed the bottles were counterfeit.

They also seized 408 bottles of Italian wines priced at two for £5.

No adequate tracing of their origin could be found in terms of invoices or receipts.

On inspection some appeared to have inadequate names and addresses, some had poor labelling and spelling, some appeared to have the wrong lot codes while others contained floating particles.

Analysis of the contents was carried out by the Scientific Services Unit at Worcestershire County Council in Worcester.

The results revealed seven bottles contained less alcohol that the amount on the label. Four bottles did not show any lot codes contrary to the Food Lot marking regulations.

Letters addressed to the producers of the wine were returned to Trading Standards as they had insufficient address details.

Officers also discovered that the current owner Aub Mahmud had no valid alcohol licence.

He bought the premises from Sardar Hamed Razai in July last year but did not apply to transfer the licence for the premises.

The committee will decide whether to modify the conditions of the licence, exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the licence, remove the premises supervisor, suspend the licence for up to three months or revoke the licence completely.